Katharine Sanderson, Nature; Editors quit top neuroscience journal to protest against open-access charges
"More than 40 editors have resigned from two leading neuroscience journals in protest against what the editors say are excessively high article-processing charges (APCs) set by the publisher. They say that the fees, which publishers use to cover publishing services and in some cases make money, are unethical. The publisher, Dutch company Elsevier, says that its fees provide researchers with publishing services that are above average quality for below average price. The editors plan to start a new journal hosted by the non-profit publisher MIT Press.
The decision to resign came about after many discussions among the editors, says Stephen Smith, a neuroscientist at the University of Oxford, UK, and editor-in-chief of one of the journals, NeuroImage. “Everyone agreed that the APC was unethical and unsustainable,” says Smith, who will lead the editorial team of the new journal, Imaging Neuroscience, when it launches.
The 42 academics who made up the editorial teams at NeuroImage and its companion journal NeuroImage: Reports announced their resignations on 17 April. The journals are open access and require authors to pay a fee for publishing services. The APC for NeuroImage is US$3,450; NeuroImage: Reports charges $900, which will double to $1,800 from 31 May. Elsevier, based in Amsterdam, says that the APCs cover the costs associated with publishing an article in an open-access journal, including editorial and peer-review services, copyediting, typesetting archiving, indexing, marketing and administrative costs. Andrew Davis, Elsevier’s vice-president of corporate communications, says that NeuroImage’s fee is less than that of the nearest comparable journal in its field, and that the publisher’s APCs are “set in line with our policy [of] providing above average quality for below average price”."
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